Bavuma heartache soothed by competitive Proteas total as Harmer strikes early

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Temba Bavuma. (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP)
Temba Bavuma. (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP)

If only it were an April Fool's joke.

Temba Bavuma's six-year century drought in Test cricket continues after he fell agonisingly short on the second day of the first Test against Bangladesh at Kingsmead on Friday.

The diminutive right-hander departed for an excellent 93, expertly marshalling a Proteas lower-order batting effort that eventually showed enough obduracy to reach a total of 367.

In reply, Simon Harmer celebrated his return to Test cricket with a wicket in his second over, castling Shadman Islam, who went back to a quicker ball that kept low, as the Tigers went to tea at 25/1.

LIVE | Proteas v Bangladesh, 1st Test, day 2

However, it was the Proteas' vice-captain that was in the spotlight for most of the day.

Bavuma seemed set for a thoroughly deserved second hundred in the pinnacle format of the game, only got go back to a delivery from off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz that turned freakishly, hit his leg and ricocheted onto his stumps.

The feeling of deflation and depression was tangible, with various members of the national team looking on in disbelief, in particular head coach Mark Boucher.

It is true that he was dropped on 77 when he fended a lifting delivery from the lively Khaled Ahmed (4/92) to slip, where Yasir Ali dropped a tough chance and miscued an extravagant advance down the wicket that could easily have been stumping on 90, but for the rest of his innings his control was impeccable.

His only triple figure score remains the iconic, unbeaten 102 he crafted at 2016's New Years' Test against England at Newlands.

Bavuma did find a useful ally in Keshav Maharaj, who survived a iffy start playing on the off-side to stroke a useful 19 before being castled by an Ebadot Hossain (2/86) cracker that moved off the seam.

Wiaan Mulder, selected as the designated all-rounder to fortify the batting at No 7, was out for a golden duck as he sliced to gully, leaving him so distraught that he sat in the dug-out for 25 minutes with his pads on, contemplating.

Simon Harmer, clearly relishing his return to Test cricket, gave an overdue reminder - at least in terms of his output this season - of his batting ability with a career-best, unbeaten 38.

Lizaad Williams and Duanne Olivier also managed to hang around long enough for important extra runs to be scored.

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